Aziz Ahmed Soomro, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist

ADHD in Adults

People with ADHD are usually unable to pay attention or concentrate for long periods of time, are often hyperactive and have a tendency for impulsivity.

Can Adults Have ADD/ADHD?

Though it remains one of the most studied disorders in children, ADD/ADHD in adults often goes undiagnosed. According to epidemiologic data, about 4% of the general adult population has ADHD but less than one tenth of them are diagnosed. Only a third of the adults diagnosed with ADHD are treated. 90% of adults with ADHD are unaware of their diagnosis and suffer various degrees of functional impairment. They find themselves unable to keep a job or appointments, seem constantly disorganized, and may have a history of problems at work.

Causes of ADHD

There is no single cause of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, though there are many possible causes that have been shown to increase the likelihood that symptoms will arise. Most recent research suggests that ADHD is genetic. Several environmental and lifestyle factors can worsen ADHD.

Adult ADHD can manifest itself through a variety risky behavior, such as using drugs, smoking, getting in trouble with the law, antisocial behavior and poor work history. Your psychiatrist can assess if such symptoms may be due to adult ADHD.

There are three types of ADHD: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, and combined. These subtypes are identified and diagnosed by the number of symptoms in each category. The existence of those symptoms in adults may be often masked by coping mechanisms or by social difficulties.

Symptoms of hyperactivity include:

Symptoms of impulsivity include:

Symptoms of inattentive ADHD:

Self diagnosis of ADHD may not be possible and it is always better to ask for an evaluation by a psychiatrist if you suspect you have adult ADHD.

Adult ADHD Treatment

ADHD has many of the same treatment options whether it is present in an adult or a child. However, the way treatment is approached is quite different.

ADHD Medication

Adults may be taking medication for other problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart diseases, therefore your psychiatrist will take extra care when deciding upon the course of treatment.

ADHD Therapy

Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is also used in treatment. Your psychiatrist may help develop organizational strategies to manage daily tasks, and also create strategies to improve self-image and interpersonal relationships that are affected.

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